When “Freebird” started to play our black classmates didn’t know what to do. I kept looking over at them as the song built knowing eventually their jaws would drop. When the penultimate guitar jam finally kicked in, they were pumping their fists and playing air guitar with us. It was a beautiful moment in time.
Wow! This isn’t merely a response, but a very reflective piece on relatively contemporary American Southern life!
I found it very insightful and interesting.
Music. The great uniter. I’m not all that familiar with Lynard Skye, or their music, but I know their name. I know they are highly regarded in the world that is American music. “Free Bird” sort of feels like “The Weight” which I absolutely love! “Rolled into Nazareth, feeling bout half passed dead.” Who amongst us hasn’t felt this way, at some point and time in our lives?
I’m glad your black classmates enjoyed “Free Bird” and I hope your white classmates enjoyed “Celebration.” I think Kool n the Gang, is like Sarah Lee, no one doesn’t like them. (Which is not to say everyone loves them.)
I’ve always listened to all kinds of music. Like you, I had parents who were eclectic to say the least. My father absolutely loved Smoky Robinson, Bach, Beethoven (especially the fifth symphony), the Beatles, Stevie Wonder, The Police (how ironic), Billy Joel, and occasionally random women artists like Blondie, Irene Cara, Olivia Newton John, and whoever the fuck sang “Gloria.”
At prep school, the white kids of course loved all kinds of music that I wouldn’t necessarily be exposed to in the hood. This rage-filled white girl (from Texas, and she took a lot of grief for her Southern proclivities, including a reverence for the confederate flag) hipped me to the Violent Femmes. I LOVED THEM!
We can usually find common ground in music. It’s universal. We can also, if we look hard enough, find common ground in other things. You had weird parents and I had weird parents. That’s probably why we’re weird and are constantly having these weird text conversations. I enjoy them. I truly do!
Everyone LOVED the Dukes of Hazard, including me. You’re wrong, about the confederate flag not being an issue, though. It definitely was an issue in my community. Educated African-Americans informed us kids that the flag stood for slavery and insisted we destroy in Dukes of Hazards paraphernalia sporting that flag. Non-Southern African-Americans hate the fucking flag, they hate it, hate it, hate it. They believe it stands for racism, and slavery.
Southern African Americans tolerate it, because honestly? What else are they going to do? There are some, though, who actually like it; and believe it represents them as well, but I think it’s complicated. The flag represents the South, and that’s to say, it represents a lot of good things as well as a lot of bad things, and that’s all tied up into one symbol, unfortunately you can’t pull the good out from the bad.
Because I worked in a place where the North met the South, I had to deal with a lot of drama around that flag. It’s hard to get people to focus on their damn jobs, when they are so focused on a symbol they either love or hate.
You say that I don’t get you, and you’re right! You’re way too unique for anyone to “get” and that’s probably true of all of us.
I wasn’t trying to “get” you. I suppose I’ve tried to provoke you, but in a good, playful way. I pick on you because you’re intelligent enough and thoughtful enough to be provoked in a way that is useful. (That’s a compliment, for real…Especially coming from me. I find that most people are just not worth my time.)
I’ve asked you to go beneath the surface of your American experience and explain why to me. Why does the South do this? Why Trump?
I think you’ve actually done a damn good job of answering the question why. Especially in this last post.
From the way you describe your American experiences, I believe now that I have a far better understanding of why you have positioned yourself politically with the Trumpsters. From your perspective, it makes sense, in as much as anything can make sense these days.
“Lefties” really? I don’t identify as a “leftist” whatever the fuck that’s supposed to be. There is so much chaos and confusion and breakdown, I honestly don’t feel like I can identify with any of it, anymore. The more that gets revealed, the more it’s ridiculously obvious that all the politicians are corrupt as hell, and Trump may very well be the most righteous amongst them.
What the fuck!
I’ve always suspected that the Dem and Pub politicians were working together to create all this shit we’re in. Now I know it’s true…and the one thing I do like about Trump is that he agitates all of them. Well good. They all deserve to be badly agitated.
As this empire collapses all around us, it’s nice that we can have these truly enlightened conversations about race in America, and music, and the meaning of the confederate flag…I think we should do a podcast…voices from opposite ends of the political spectrum in a collapsing empire.
I’m glad you’re mom’s not wispy!